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German bill not ‘right way’ to combat hate speech: Facebook

Berlin: Reacting to Germany’s plans of enacting a new law to impose up to a whopping 50 million euros in fine on social networks if they fail to remove hate speech and fake news quickly from their platforms, Facebook has said that the draft law is not the right way to achieve these goals, media reported.

The Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz or NetzDG in German) in its current form is “not suitable to combat hate speech and false news”, Engadget.com reported on Tuesday quoting a Facebook spokesperson.

Germany’s cabinet on April 5 approved the new bill to punish social networking sites for failure to remove illegal content swiftly from their platforms. But the bill requires parliamentary approval to become law.

Facebook, Twitter and Google all pledged to Germany in 2015 that they would remove criminal forms of hate speech within a day. But those commitments, according to the local government, have not always gone according to plan.

Facebook said it understands its own responsibility and welcomes political efforts to combat hate speech but added that a “disproportionate threat of fines”, as proposed in the draft German law, provides an incentive to delete content that is not clearly illegal.

“The draft law is not the right way to achieve these political goals,” the Facebook spokesperson told Engadget in a statement.

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